Caring for mental well-being in a time of crisis
During this very exceptional time where we find ourselves in very exceptional circumstances it’s important to focus on all aspects of our health, including our mental well-being.
I count myself as being extremely fortunate, in that I have a spacious home and a healthy family. However, there are many of us who are not so lucky.
We should all reflect on those of us living with violence in the household, those of us living alone in small quarters having no direct contact with others or those with pre-existing mental health conditions who feel very strained by the current situation.
In normal circumstances about 15% of the population suffers from some serious form of mental illness.
Until now, mental health has rarely been mentioned as we focus on keeping everyone physically healthy. However, we must all focus on this critical part of our well-being if the current measures are extended for weeks or even months.
As neighbours we need to support each other’s mental well-being in any way possible, and as citizens we need to look to our leaders at all levels to offer options to avoid feelings of loneliness, depression and despair. We cannot sacrifice one critical aspect of our health to save another.
Perhaps this can come from letting our neighbours know that we’re thinking of them, scheduled conversations where social distancing is respected, or even leaving letters in mailboxes letting them know that we care. For our leaders this could be relaxing social distancing to allow meetings of small groups as soon as possible and organizing appropriate activities to reduce feelings of isolation in those of us living alone.
By focusing on all aspects of our well-being we’ll make sure that we get through this with everyone emerging in good health - in all senses of the term.